Introducing a major literary talent, "The White Tiger" offers a story of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narrator that this millennium has yet seen. Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life -- having nothing but ...
Introducing a major literary talent, "The White Tiger" offers a story of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narrator that this millennium has yet seen. Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life -- having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Born in the dark heart of India, Balram gets a break when he is hired as a driver for his village's wealthiest man, two house Pomeranians (Puddles and Cuddles), and the rich man's (very unlucky) son. From behind the wheel of their Honda City car, Balram's new world is a revelation. While his peers flip through the pages of "Murder Weekly" ("Love -- Rape -- Revenge!"), barter for girls, drink liquor (Thunderbolt), and perpetuate the Great Rooster Coop of Indian society, Balram watches his employers bribe foreign ministers for tax breaks, barter for girls, drink liquor (single-malt whiskey), and play their own role in the Rooster Coop. Balram learns how to siphon gas, deal with corrupt mechanics, and refill and resell Johnnie Walker Black Label bottles (all but one). He also finds a way out of the Coop that no one else inside it can perceive. Balram's eyes penetrate India as few outsiders can: the cockroaches and the call centers; the prostitutes and the worshippers; the ancient and Internet cultures; the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger. And with a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create virtue, and money doesn't solve every problem -- but decency can still be found in a corrupt world, and you can get what you want out of life if you eavesdrop on the right conversations. Sold in sixteen countries around the world, "The White Tiger" recalls "The Death of Vishnu" and "Bangkok 8" in ambition, scope, and narrative genius, with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation -- and a startling, provocative debut.
I listened to this fine novel as a book-on-CD while driving. The narrator's accurate Indian accent made the story come alive, perhaps, more than with the book version.
Like Mistry's "A Fine Balance" (a better book), the story is first of all an indictment of India's political system, where elections are bought and politicians and officials live off of graft. What makes this novel rise above average is the sardonic undertone of humor. Mistry sets his work in the 1970s, and Adiga's 2008 setting shows that little has changed for the better for India's underclasses.
Apr 29, 2010
White Tiger Whines
This book sucked. I'm a voracious reader. In a typical week I will read 2 to 3 novels, so I've read thousands of books over the past fifty or so years. This may not be the worst book I ever read, but it is in the top three. Absolutely dismal, with no redeeming qualities. Well, I guess i do have to admit it was well written, but well written drivel is still drivel. Depressing to the extreme. A terrible read.
Aug 27, 2009
Winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize, "The White Tiger," by Aravind Adiga, is a pretty intense piece of work. The narrator, an Indian from a caste of sweet-makers, tells the story of his scrabble to the higher rungs of society than that to which he was born. It is darkly comedic in tone, and the narrator tells his tale so pleasantly that the reader is taken in effortlessly and almost immediately to his case. All the while, the reader feels her stomach drop out because the description of life in "the Darkness" of India is so bleak and so irreparably stacked against those born in that Darkness, that a way out can hardly be imagined. The way out, so nimbly depicted by the narrator as the reason for his success, is egregious and SHOULD be unconscionable. But it is to Adiga's credit that by the time the novel comes to that point, the narrator has won the reader over, if not to the point of championing his act, at least to understanding his reasons. This is an excruciating, hilarious, brutal, wonderful read. No, those terms are not mutually exclusive. Read "The White Tiger" and see what I mean.
Aug 9, 2009
I liked the book.I was astonished the way ,he(Balaram) killed his master&became one of the most influencial character of my life.THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT EFFORT TO BRING THIS STORY TO MY BEAUTIFUL SKULL..................................MR.ADIGA
Mar 22, 2009
A strong 3.5 stars!
Hmmm....this one was a little bit different, not my normal type of read. An interesting look at Indian culture through the eyes of an ambitious man of a "lower caste". I'm not quite sure what the author was trying to depict in this story but there are certainly many issues to explore: is he trying to say that India is not the modernized country its leaders want others to believe? does the main character eventually become the type of man he despises via ambition? or is his climb in society more of an issue of survival? I was also struck by the lack of accountability by the wealthier classes in regards to...well, just about everything. The author does a phenomenal job of painting the cities and economic strife of India.
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